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Hobbies

I seem to take on a new major hobby every ten or twelve years.  Here are those I have been most serious about.



General Aviation PDF Print E-mail

I earned my Private Pilot license on Father's Day in 1969. The flight examiner was a fine gentleman named Howard James. Once licensed, my Dad was my first passenger and my wife was the second. In 1972, I added an Instrument Rating. I was a member of a flying club named Propaire, Incorporated, which was based at the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. I still have my log books, some dandy stories, and wonderful memories.

Ex-member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:13
 
Duplicate Bridge PDF Print E-mail

Growing up in a household where my parents played social bridge regularly, I began to learn the game as a teenager.  After college, groups that I worked with played cards at lunch and, in the 1980s, I found myself playing lunchtime Swiss teams under the mentorship of a duplicate player named Bob Hamilton who took us beyond social bridge into five card majors, Jacoby transfers, weak twos, and more.  When my wife enrolled us in an evening duplicate class I joined ACBL and the race was on.  A co-worker, Mark Hunter, and I played one evening each week at a club and in local tournaments about every three months.  A highlight was when Mark and I won the First Place trophy in the Future Master Pairs tournament session in St. Louis on 9 June 1990  When a job change moved me out of St. Louis, I continued playing one night per week at a club in the Boston area and on a company Swiss team in the Route 128 Industrial Bridge League.  Though I enjoyed the venue at the club, non-stratified scoring in tough competition limited my quest for Masterpoints.

Another job change moved my wife and me to Middle Georgia and we eventually retired in the Atlanta area.  Here golf displaced bridge for fourteen years until bad winter weather led me back to the bridge table and I met John Erkkila, who became my partner.  At that point I had been an ACBL member for 23 years (nine of them active) and had 29 Masterpoints.  John and I, and eventually other partners, played twice weekly in Gainesville and Athens, Georgia, and in a lot of nearby tournaments.  With our Masterpoint totals climbing, we realized for the first time that we could eventually be Life Masters if we accumulated those elusive gold points.  We concentrated on Regional tournaments and improving our game trying to get 25 gold before reaching 300 Masterpoints.  We won a lot of red points and, finally, enough gold.  Then it was just a matter of winning the remainder of the points.  I achieved the rank of Life Master in September, 2015.  John moved to Phoenix at the end of a great run together.

Bridge is not an individual game and I am grateful for my mentors, partners, and teammates.  James Dover taught me a lot about duplicate conventions and play at the Gainesville club.  In addition to John, Dan and Dana Osburn, Jim Kirby, Chris Shanks, Phyllis Pagano, Linda Naples, and Ruth Bruner were in the thick of my search for gold.

Member of ACBL.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:51
 
Amateur Radio PDF Print E-mail

I got my Technician license in August of 1997 -- KF4TSK. My Dad and I first talked about getting Ham licenses almost 60 years ago. He never did, so mine is mostly for me and partly in memory of him.

Ex-member of ARRL, Middle Georgia Radio Association, and Central Georgia Amateur Radio Club.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 July 2011 16:15
 
Golf PDF Print E-mail

I took up golf during the summer of 1999 when my wife and I started with four lessons. I have now played many of the courses in Middle Georgia, and some in Atlanta, Orlando, Myrtle Beach, Sumter, Charleston, Mobile, Raleigh, Texas and Aruba.  After eleven years, I got a hole in one on the third hole of the Reunion Country Club.

Now I play only a few times per year, spending what used to be golf time on bridge.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 30 September 2015 07:56
 
Barbershop Singing PDF Print E-mail

In the spring of 2003 I decided to fill one of my two free evenings per week. A local paper offered, among other opportunities, a jazz band and a barbershop chorus. Though I grew up on jazz and played saxophone in combos and bands most weekends of my later high school years, my recent musical activity had been the church choir and praise team – more like close harmony singing than jazz saxophone. I began singing bass in the Heart of Georgia Barbershop Chorus and changed to baritone in the 2010 Dixie District Champion Stone Mountain Chorus, which are chapters of the Barbershop Harmony Society, once known as the Society for the Preservation and Encouragement of Barbershop Quartet Singing in America (SPEBSQSA).

It's great to be a barbershopper!

In the fall of 2015, I stopped going to rehearsals regularly primarily because I was losing interest in competing in contests and partly because rehearsals and bridge games were far apart in opposite directions on the same day of the week.  I sang with our Valentine's Day quartet in 2016 but don't know whether or how active I will be in the future.

Last Updated on Saturday, 12 March 2016 07:59
 
Corvettes PDF Print E-mail

2006 CorvetteIn July 2004 we bought our first Corvette. As a boy, I remember taking evening walks with my Dad around our neighborhood and sometimes down to the corner to the Chevy dealer. We peered through the window at the new 1953 Corvettes with wire mesh covering the headlights saying something like, "That sure is a nice car, but $2500 is a lot of money." It took over 50 years to spring for the dough and buy a very slightly used C5.

The picture shows our next 'Vette, a 2006 C6, in very good company at a car show in the mall. We traded the 2006 on a 2009 in September, 2009.

I drove Corvettes from July, 2004, until March, 2016, for a total eleven years and eight months and 160,000 miles, more than six times around the world.  Including the original tires on each car, I count seven and a half sets of tires at prices of $1,500 and up per set.  Assuming 23 mpg and an average speed of 30 mph, that is just less than 7,000 gallons of gasoline and 225 days behind the wheel.  The most expensive gasoline I bought was $4.50 per gallon for one tank of premium during a freak local gas shortage in the fall of 2008 at 10:30 pm on my way home from a barbershop rehearsal.  Interestingly enough, the only time I was stopped by the police was for (slightly) rolling a stop sign just after buying that tank of gas.  The officer let me off with a warning when I told him that I did it as a fuel conservation measure.  He hadn’t heard that one before.

Ex-member of the National Corvette Museum and Corvettes Limited of Central Georgia.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 27 April 2016 07:50